Always a good place to start. And guess what? I won the 2013 Calderdale Award for THE HUNTING GROUND. That’s 6 awards for my ghost stories now, and twice I’ve won this particular and fantastic award. Over ten schools were involved in the ceremony in Halifax in the North West of England on 3rd July. Maybe I should write some more ghost stories, d’you think?
The other excellent short-listed authors were Sally Nichols for ALL FALL DOWN, Chris Westwood for MINISTRY OF PANDEMONIUM, William Osborne for HITLER’S ANGEL and the wonderfully titled THE NIGHT SKY IN MY HEAD by Sarah Hammond. It was such a pleasure to meet them all, and all the teachers, librarians and students who make this event so fantastic.
SHOOT-EM UP AWARD!
I've been invited to a literary shoot-out in March 2014. The 10 novels that won the last decade-worth of Salford Book Awards duel it out. The mayhem is probably in a quiet library with biscuits and milky tea, but I'm gonna bring a MASSIVE MASSIVE gun!
I like getting Fan Mail. Here’s one I especially liked recently. Couldn't resist (with Jay's permission) sharing with you his unedited email to me via my website.
Dear Mr. McNish
My name is Jay, and I'm 13 years old. I've always loved books, and yours I just happened to find at our town's public library. Just lucky the whole [Silver] sequence was in one spot too. I can't explain how AMAZING they are. I don't know why, but I read them every night. I will have to return them soon, but I already plan on buying them for my personal keeping.
I know, I sound like any other kid fan you have, obsessed with your books. I guess I kind of am. I can't say they changed my life in any way, but they've become a well-needed life line for me. Barely-a-teen, these books are just the perfect excuse to forget about my world and my non-existent problems, and just feel like I'm a part of something bigger. I know that none of this is true in any sense, but the concept-of Milo, Helen, Tom, Jenny, Walter, the Roar, the Protector-is so beautiful. Yes, some parts are a bit off, like Jenny the five-year-old weapon. Yet for some reason, it is so easy for me to believe that parts of your story do live around us, and I guess that's given me some hope to know this magical story may contain reality. I think it's the idea of beauty that leaves me enamoured with your books. In the silver sequence, all beauty is-is compassion, caring. Kindness, and sacrifice. Giving into pain, and suffering, accepting losses for yourself, but helping others. It made me think about humanity in a different sense. Beauty is something we all have, and I don't think I would of ever realized that without your books.
Now isn't that nice? It'’s stuff like that which makes the effort of writing worthwhile.
Ciao for now.